[Koha] Ahoy!

Bigwood, David bigwood at lpi.usra.edu
Thu Jan 25 05:02:07 NZDT 2007


Cataloging for your own use is one thing, it is another to catalog at a
level where you other institutions will be willing to take your records,
unless they are very very rare. Libraries use a data schema called MARC.
You can find it at:

MARC has about 3000 fields and subfields. It is very granular, but not
yet enough. When mapping your Filemaker file to MARC you will not be
using MARC to the accepted level. Works for a local catalog, but not so
much for sharing. The Windows Tool to use to make the conversion is
MARCEdit, freely available. For input, Easy MARC Edit, a free part of
MARC Wizard, might be useful. (I've not tried it myself.)

Each of the fields has a content standard. The major one being AACR2,
soon to be RDA. That tells just what goes into each field in MARC. The
subject fields have Sears or Library of Congress subject headings or
MeSH or AAT and each of those have standards on how the subjects are
selected, constructed and applied. Same for classification numbers,
other sets of standards. Antiquarian materials have additional or
different content rules. If you are in Germany, there are other
standards in use, though I think they are moving towards MARC and RDA.
So, it will take a good while for your imputer to learn to create
records at the level universities will accept, but not so much for your
own local use.

Unless you are dealing with unpublished manuscripts or archives you may
be surprised to find just how much have been cataloged. OCLC has a
database with over 1 billion items, you can search it at:

If you find an item there you can then point your Z39.50 client at that
institution to get the record.

David Bigwood
bigwood at lpi.usra.edu
Lunar and Planetary Institute

P.S. Check out our weekly podcast, now over a year old.

-----Original Message-----
From: koha-bounces at lists.katipo.co.nz
[mailto:koha-bounces at lists.katipo.co.nz] On Behalf Of m freiert
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 6:26 PM
To: koha at lists.katipo.co.nz
Subject: [Koha] Ahoy!

hi all.

a friend pointed me at the koha software and i've a few questions about
it that i'm hoping someone can answer.

in short, i'm a moderately skilled geek with zero *nix skills, but
strong information architecture, and a high general computer proficency,
and decent windose skills.  i'm looking at doing some reasonably serious
digging into linux in the next ~3 months.  i'm one of two people
recently placed in charge of a small privage research library that's had
negligible maintance for ~20 years.  i have quite good library research
side skills, but neither of us have been on the admin side of one 
before.   we have a varied selection of books, a number of which we wish

to allow limited access to, for several reasons.

slowly but surely our collection is being entered into an old version of
file maker pro (because that's what our data processing volunter is
familiar with on a moderate level) and being cross referenced with our
old paper card catalogue and confirmed as books on hand.  now while this
is far from ideal it *does* get our catalogue into ... well, into the
20th century at least.

long term, our goal is to get not only our catalogue online but to share
it amongst several other private libraries, and ideally integrate it
with a number of university and other research and rare books libraries.

(as a side note, eventually another goal is to get a significant ammount
of our rare books online in an e-book/pdf format for both public and
research access, but that's a whole nother nightmare involving long
nights with a right angle scanner, and getting ocr software to play with
1700 era german fonts)

-how much trouble am i looking at to import our extant cataloge into
koha, multiple steps is fine, but manual is not pretty.  i can get us
running *reasonably* well for the time being and even online with
filemaker, but clearly migrating to a standards compliant software
sooner rather than later is a better option.
-how hard is it going to be for my marginally computer adept, but
intelligent, and data input adept volunteer who's a bit of an old dog to
learn to input more titles?
-how hard will it be to search/compare/semi autonomously add LOC
cataloge numbers to known volumes?  i know we have a number of privat
printings that are probably not catalogued thus far, and will need to be
hand numbered, but it'd be nice to not have to look up ALL of them.
-how secure is koha when on line?
-are there multiple levels of access?  i.e. can i mask certain books
that are flagged as do not check out from being seen by remote users, or
a specific class of users, and yet leave them accessible to local users,
or authorized logins?

that's all i can think of for the moment.  feel free to abuse me for my
lack of knowledge about the software, etc.


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